Two students sitting at a table, smiling at each other. One is holding a pencil and writing in a notebook.

About the Mentor-Mentee Relationship

In addition to meeting regularly with you in a one-on-one and small group setting, your academic mentor will serve as a knowledgeable and experienced guide and resource, a trusted ally and advocate, and a caring role model to you. Your mentor is someone whose advice and encouragement you will seek regarding decisions about classes, majors, academic difficulties, and personal problems (by recommending you to meet with the appropriate outside sources).

To maximize the benefits and effectiveness of this mentoring relationship, we ask that you commit to this relationship for at least one full semester and meet regularly with your assigned mentor throughout the semester.

What Your Academic Mentor Does

  • Your academic mentor can help with difficult material by putting it in a new context and helping you create connections between topics. Your mentor is here to assist and motivate you.
  • Your academic mentor will make every effort to keep a flexible and open schedule for you within reason. 
  • Your academic mentor can give a few basic suggestions to help you improve your own writing and research process or refer you to the Writing Center, but is not a trained writing consultant.
  • Your academic mentor is available for mentoring and advice on your college career as well.
  • Your academic mentor will help you work through personal problems by recommending that you meet with the appropriate outside sources. 
  • Your academic mentor can help you learn how to study, take notes, and prepare for an exam or quiz. Ask your mentor about study methods and additional resources.
  • Your academic mentor will ask you follow-up questions to ensure that you understand the material and are not merely listening passively. Be prepared to speak up during meetings.
  • Your academic mentor and you must be punctual for appointments and respect each other’s time.
  • Your academic mentor will keep you updated on how many reward points you have accumulated. 

What Your Academic Mentor Does Not Do

  • Your academic mentor will not meet with you at the last minute and the program does not offer drop-in tutoring. Your mentor is a full-time student as well and cannot always reschedule at a specific time. (48 hours of prior notice is needed.) 
  • Your academic mentor will not meet with you only before an exam.
  • Your academic mentor will not complete assignments for you or tell you what to write for papers.
  • Your academic mentor will help you, but your meetings are not a substitute for your regular homework and study time. 
  • Your academic mentor will not ignore you when you are confused or push on with a session if you feel unwell or are finding it hard to focus, but you are responsible for letting your mentor know how you feel.
  • Your academic mentor cannot meet with students who are not Mentoring for Success Program participants and who do not meet our funding agency’s eligibility requirements. 
  • Your academic mentor is not a teacher or a supplemental instruction (SI) leader and does not know what your instructor has said in lectures.
  • Your academic mentor does not necessarily know every detail of the material and each chapter of the text. Your mentor will not know what your professor will put on quizzes and exams.

How Is a Mentor Different From a Tutor?

  • Long-term relationship and commitment.
  • Goals focused on overall development; tutoring may happen during mentoring.
  • Intervention may not always be reparative, remedial, or problem-focused.

Source: MENTOR National

Tips for Making the Most of Mentoring

  1. Call your academic mentor (rather than email) at least one hour in advance if a meeting needs to be cancelled. Your mentor plans around meetings and often makes special trips to accommodate you.
  2. Let your academic mentor know in advance if you would like to add an extra session that week so your mentor can set aside some additional times.  
  3. Make an effort to complete your homework before sessions so you have questions to ask your academic mentor.
  4. Academic mentors have usually taken the course themselves and will be helpful guides during the semester, but they may not know all of the materials all of the time. 
  5. Remember: Your academic mentor can help you with difficult concepts to make the path to a good grade smoother, but ultimately it is your job to participate and work hard for your grade.
  6. Understand that academic mentors are assigned to you on a per course basis. If you want help with a course for which no mentor is assigned, request that a mentor be assigned for that course.

Additional Information

While the Mentoring for Success Program's academic mentors have flexible schedules and can meet you at a mutually agreeable place and time, they cannot be "on-call" and will not be able to meet with you on short notice. It is advisable for you to schedule your appointments at least 48 hours in advance. You are strongly encouraged to meet regularly at the same time and place for your sessions. Our suggestion is to meet with your mentor for at least 45 minutes to one hour, up to twice a week.

Additionally, you must only meet in a public place that is conducive to learning, such as the library, Bernhard Center study areas, residence hall study lounges, and other common study areas. Please do not meet one-on-one in a private space, such as a bedroom, apartment or house.

How much or how little time spent is totally up to you, but the more time you are willing to commit, the better. Your academic success depends on your effort in developing strong academic behaviors, including, but not limited to, attending classes regularly, completing all homework assignments and meeting with your mentor consistently. Your mentor will help reinforce lessons you have learned in your classes but cannot serve as a substitute teacher.

While every effort will be made to ensure that you are assigned a mentor in a timely manner, submitting an application form does not guarantee that you will be assigned a mentor immediately. You will be notified within three days of submitting your application form in the event that a mentor is not immediately available. Additionally, it may take up to two days for your mentor to get in touch with you after being assigned. Please contact the program assistants immediately if you have not heard from a mentor or from the program office after a week of submitting your application.